The bowl of Lough Cummeenoughter, Ireland's highest lake

Theatre of Dreams (Carrauntoohil II)

Continuing on from Carrauntoohil I, this post takes us up to Ireland’s highest lake, Lough Cummeenoughter at 707 metres on the way up Carrauntoohil. To get to this point, a couple of cascades and Stumpa Sorrel (a prominent rock formation) had to be passed.

A guided walk up Carrauntoohil passes by a series of cascades
Cascade Climb

Going over the top of the final cascade, the scene was awe inspiring. Above to the left, one could make out a succession of pinnacles that appeared to protect the summit from our own advances, while in the bowl of this theatre lay Ireland’s highest lake. To say I was spellbound is probably an underestimate; as the rest of the group went in search of a lunch spot, I simply stood there taking it all in.

Rock Pinnacles on the slopes of Carrauntoohil, Ireland's highest mountain
Shrouded Pinnacles
Ireland's highest lake, buttressed by steep sides
In Search of Lunch
The bright green and rock greys are reflected in the rippled surface of Lough Cummeenoughter, Carrauntoohil
Rippled Symmetry

While the lake at the bottom of the corrie seemed to be so enclosed by the towering mountains, looking out the direction from which we had come, the lake simply appeared to be one splendid infinity pool. Natural and very cold.

Ireland's highest lake, a natural infinity pool
Infinity Pool

For me, this really was an extremely atmospheric ‘Theatre of Dreams’. Hopefully, there would not be too much drama as we aimed for the next step in our journey; getting to the ridge via Raven’s Gully.

The author takes in the majesty of this natural theatre

From here to the peak of Carrauntoohil, visibility deteriorated and we were all thankful to be led by an experienced guide for this walk. There is no two ways about it, this was a dramatic and fulfilling way to climb Ireland’s highest mountain, but I would also caution that, at times, the path is not obvious and a missed footstep is likely to have dramatic consequences.

We saw people coming down this gully in trainers, holding a mobile phone for directions. Our guide has climbed Carrauntoohil over a thousand times, but has only descended via this gully about a dozen times; for good reason.

The next post will be the third and final post on this great hike.

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